Franciscan University defends deviance course against critics
Franciscan University said its “Deviant Behavior” social work class – which takes its description from a standard public university textbook – is intended to “help students learn how to better serve and assist future clients.”
The course has drawn hostile media attention after members of an unofficial Facebook group of gay and lesbian alumni asked the school to change the course description.
Currently, the class description reads: “The behaviors that are primarily examined are murder, rape, robbery, prostitution, homosexuality, mental illness and drug use.”
Gregory Gronbacher, a 1990 graduate of Franciscan University who is a member of the group, told National Public Radio he thinks that the course description puts gay students “in the same category as murderers.”
He told NBC News he thinks the school’s administrators “mean well” but “live within a bubble.”
“If you live in that sort of intellectual isolation where gay people are hidden, it’s easy to wander down that path where gay people are rapists and murderers – that scary ‘other,’” he said.
Gronbacher said he was a serious Catholic in college and went on to become a philosophy and theology professor. He said he left the Catholic Church in part because of its stance on homosexuality, NBC News says.
In response, the university’s Sept. 4 statement affirmed its adherence to Catholic teaching that homosexual persons are to be treated with “respect, compassion, and sensitivity” and that homosexual acts are “intrinsically disordered.”
Franciscan University’s social work program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, but the course description has prompted comment from Steven Holloway, director of the council’s office of accreditation. [More]